California lawmaker aims to take local politics out of affordable housing approvals

SACRAMENTO — A San Francisco lawmaker and fellow Democrats aim to speed up approvals of affordable housing developments that include support services for the homeless by making it harder for local officials throughout California to slow or deny such projects in the face of community resistance.

San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu also announced Monday a proposal to spend $1 billion of California’s $6.1 billion budget surplus to build affordable housing for low-income families and permanent shelter for the chronically homeless.

“If you look at the streets in almost any city in California,” Chiu said Monday, “it’s clear we have an enormous homelessness crisis, and I think the Legislature should respond with an investment that matches the magnitude of the crisis.”

Roughly 25 percent of the nation’s homeless — about 134,000 people and rising — live in California.

Chiu’s Assembly Bill 2162 would make it easier to gain the necessary local approvals to build permanent housing, also known as “supportive housing,” for the chronically homeless — a process that now can take years, he said. If a proposed development is made up entirely of affordable housing, offers support services for homeless residents, and meets a city’s zoning rules, it would not be subject to public hearings or other lengthy approval hurdles under the bill.

“The local politics around supportive housing are far more of a challenge than they need to be,” he said.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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